Paul Newman (1925 - 2008)

The world lost a great man and great actor yesterday. Paul Newman. He was a true great, a true icon. I grew up on Paul Newman. He starred in two of my all-time favorite movies, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Towering Inferno. So many great roles and great movies: Cool Hand Luke, Harper, Winning, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, The Sting...and the list goes on and on. But there's no reason for sadness here. Paul Newman had a long life. Up until very recently, he was quite healthy and very active. Not only did he have an unbelievable film career, he had a loving family, a fantastic wife (50 years!), a racing career, and did a lot of great charity work with his Newman’s Own products. I’d say he was one lucky man. And we were awfully lucky for having him for 83 years. Thanks for the memories, Mr. Newman.

You can find a million clips of Paul Newman on YouTube, but here are just a few that I found. Enjoy!



PAUL NEWMAN TRIBUTE (music is from “Cool Hand Luke”)




Q: A producer is offering me a “dollar option” (aka “The Free Option”) on my script. Is this something I should consider?

A: It depends on who the producer is. If he has a reputation for getting movies produced, and if he’s someone you get a positive vibe from, then a free option for a few months might not be a bad idea.

Then again, if this is a legitimate producer, why can’t he come up with some cash?

If he believes in your script, he should be willing to put up some dough, right? But if this “producer” is some kid fresh out of AFI or USC, then I’d think twice before signing my script over for any significant length of time.

Why? Well...

It’s difficult enough for an established producer to get a movie made, so what makes you think some guy out of film school can get your script off the ground? But again, a freebie 3 month option, to see if they can get the project up and running, isn’t a big deal. Anything longer than that, tell ‘em to whip out the checkbook.

I’ve accepted the “dollar option” twice. One (very early in my career) was a complete and total waste of time and I’m sorry I did it. The other turned into an interesting and educational rollercoaster ride and I ended up making some bucks on the second year renewal. Then I optioned the script again to another producer!


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Q: I’ve sent my script to four production companies—and they’ve all rejected it! Should I just give up?

A: Oh, you poor thing. How awful! Look, get used to rejection—it’s a staple of the screenwriter’s diet. I’ve had several scripts passed on by one producer and then optioned and/or purchased from another.

I recall giving a horror script to one well known script consultant about seven years ago. I met him at his apartment in North Hollywood. The guy never even called me back! Since then, I’ve optioned that script three times and it’s currently in development with a producer here in L.A.

This is a numbers game. Fact is, not everyone is going to “get” your script. Some will love it, some will hate it, most will be somewhere in the middle. That’s the way it is.

If the first guy doesn’t want your script, move on to the next guy. And if that guy doesn’t want it, move on to the next guy. If your script is truly great, someone will eventually say yes. (Probably.) And, as we all know, it only takes one “yes” to sell a script.

You need a thick skin to be in this business, so I suggest you start hanging out with some armadillos!